Friday, March 23, 2012

THE QUEEN’S SORROW by Suzannah Dunn

Publisher: Harper Collins
Date published: February 2011
Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained by Publisher (originally received as paperback)

Rafael, is sent by Phillip of Spain with a most important mission—to make a sundial for his bride, Queen Mary Tudor. The Spaniard arrives with a number of members from Phillip’s court including his friend, Antonio. Leaving behind his wife and two year old son, Rafael undertakes the journey with an open mind. After all, it will only be for six weeks while he constructs the sundial for Phillip’s queen and then he will once again be home with his family. The travelers are assured that they will incur no expenses, have places to stay and their needs taken care of. Upon his arrival, however, Rafael finds himself a forgotten guest in the home he is assigned to, must learn to navigate his way to the palace without benefit of the English language or anyone to translate and no money or room with which to build the sundial. Time marches on and six weeks becomes six months and eventually a year goes by before Rafael is able to return to his home.

I read Suzannah Dunn’s THE SIXTH WIFE several years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Ms. Dunn’s words brought the court of King Henry VIII to life in vivid detail with memorable characters. I looked forward to reading THE QUEEN’S SORROW, anticipating a similarly wonderful read. I was sadly disappointed.

While I am not a fan of first person point of view, THE SIXTH WIFE is well done in that voice. THE QUEEN’S SORROW is told in pretty much straight narrative. Reading about Rafael’s days and wait to build the sundial was akin to listening to a neighbor talk about his or her rather unexciting day. Fortunately the neighbor’s tale is done rather quickly—this story seemed never ending. I really found little to recommend this story. Calling it THE QUEEN’S SORROW led me to believe it would be about Mary Tudor with Rafael and the other characters being secondary. I know Ms. Dunn can pen a fabulous story so I will pick up her other books and read them. This one was just a disappointment.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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